By Jack Drummond
Transport chiefs across Greater Manchester are hoping that the number of people cycling across the region will soar following Bradley Wiggins’ historic Tour de France victory over the weekend.
In a bid to get more people on their bike, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is encouraging people to book themselves in for free two-hour adult cycling training sessions as part of its Commuter Cycle Project announced last year.
Instructors will offer advice on route planning, best bike practice and confidence-boosting tips along with coaching for real-life situations which many cyclists face on a day to day basis.
“Bradley Wiggins is an inspiration – and we’re determined to use his historic achievement to create a legacy of even more people taking up cycling,” said TfGM’s Transport Strategy Director Dave Newton.
“But we appreciate that a lot of people may need a confidence boost to get riding again regularly,” he added.
Instructors will be on hand and training sessions will be flexible to fit in with people’s working patterns meaning budding cyclists can train when it suits them such as at weekends, in the evenings or during the daytime.
Mr Newton added that the Olympic Games, where Team GB’s cycling teams are hotly tipped to win gold, will only add to a cycling renaissance.
Last week the council, along with Sky and British Cycling, saw record numbers of riders take to the streets for the Sky Ride route, which took in Castlefield, the city centre, Manchester’s Etihad stadium and the Manchester Velodrome.
The council is also expecting its new ‘cycling hubs’ at Bury Interchange and City Tower in Piccadilly Gardens to be ready later this summer, which will host bike and clothes storage and even showers for those commuting.
However, some campaigners remain sceptical about the plans believing that priorities need to be focussed on 20 mph speed limits in residential areas and the state of the roads.
Speaking at the Sky Ride even last week, a spokesman from the Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign said: “All this is very good, but if we don't have the proper road conditions then it's going to be a difficult thing to get people to stay on their bikes.”
For more information on cycling across Greater Manchester visit www.tfgm.com/cycling. To book a training session call 0300 123 1675.